To Kwa Wan “Concrete Factory” during WW2 – Japanese expansion of Kai Tak airport
HF: Quite a while back Elizabeth Ride told me about an exhibition which included the following information forming part of a WW2 BAAG report. The subject of this exhibition and when it took place are unclear. Furthermore the date of the report is not known, though it must have been from 1943/44. The only reference is a code reading FDR/2B/59 written along the margin of the second map shown below.
We have also posted an article, linked below, To Kwa Wan Quarry c1841 and 1944. which shows the same location in BAAG report KWIZ #70, 6.10.44.
Mak Ho Yin has very kindly translated the Chinese script that accompanied the map and which I have largely cropped out of the image below.
The notes accompanying the map state,”This drawing records the location of the To Kwa Wan Concrete Factory and include details of nearby streets. Since the factory produced concrete for the expansion of Kai Tak Airport, the information collected would give the Allied forces insights into the strength of the Japanese Imperial Air Force. The Japanese began work on the expansion of Kai Tak Airport in 1943. According to the report, the factory originally had three concrete mixer machines, but owing to the shortage of coal and electricity only one was in operation. This reflects that during the middle and final stages of the War, the Japanese forces suffered supply shortages that presaged their ultimate defeat.”
I have re-written the numbers shown on the map to aid clarity.
Mak Ho Yin: The following is the translation of the To Kwa Wan Concrete Factory material. Where I’m not so sure, I have put the information in a bracket.
1. Tool room of the concrete factory
2. Explosives magazine of the concrete factory
3. Workmen dormitory of the concrete factory
4. Indian guards dormitory of the concrete factory
5. Explosives magazine of the concrete factory
6. Electricity switch room of the concrete factory for quarry blasting;
7. (A workshop in the concrete factory?)
8. Workmen toilet of the concrete factory;
9. Office of the concrete factory;
10. Indian guardhouse of the concrete factory;
11. Repairing tools room of the concrete factory;
12. Product outlet of concrete mixer machine of the concrete factory;
13. (Electric appliance motors room of the concrete factory?)
14. Concrete mixer machine of the concrete factory;
15. Electricity room of the concrete factory;
16. Product outlet of concrete mixer machine of the concrete factory;
17. Product outlet of concrete mixer machine of the concrete factory;
18. (Boiler room of the concrete factory?)
19. Large amount of concrete piled up on the ground;
20. Hill where rocks were quarried;
21. Chatham Road, To Kwa Wan;
23. Residential blocks at Chatham Road;
24. Residential blocks at Chatham Road;
25. Kiang Hsi Street, To Kwa Wan;
26. (a Shing Kung Hui school, To Kwa Wan);
27. Residential blocks at Chatham Road;
29. A hut inside the farmland;
30. Ma Tau Wai Road;
31. Residential blocks at Ma Tau Wai Road;
32. Chi Kiang Street, To Kwa Wan;
33. Residential blocks at Chi Kiang Street;
34. Farmland at Chi Kiang Street.
The paragraph at the end explains the function of the concrete factory:
“To Kwa Wan Concrete Factory is for producing concrete for the Kai Tak Airport. There are about 100 workers there, some are long-term while some are doing odd jobs. There are also five Indian guards. There are three concrete mixer machines, but owing to the shortage of coal and electricity, only one is in operation. And it operates only fifteen days in a months. It produces about 320 jing (one jing equals 20 dan) of concrete every months.”
Both jing and dan are units of weight, but I can’t judge how heavy they were.
Related Indhhk articles:
- To Kwa Wan Quarry c1841 and 1944
- Japanese Extension of Kai Tak aerodrome, BAAG reports, 1942-1944
- Kai Tak airport – BAAG Reports 1942-1944, plus other HK landing strips